Monday, August 29, 2016

Registro - Week 7

Let's move on to the weekly news!

So starting on last Monday... We visited Franciele e Matteus. They responded pretty well. I did an object lesson where you get a tupperware thing of water and you put a little bit of steel wool on top and it floats. We talked about when Christ was walking on the water and Peter walked on the water as well. So the steel wool is Peter and he's walking on the water and everything is chill.  Then we talked about what helps us have faith: scriptures and prayer and church and all that good stuff. Then I asked, "What is one thing we do that hurts our faith?" It could be whatever. Then you get a little bit of dish soap and put one drop in the water. Then the steel wool sinks, and it's to show that a drop of doubt or whatever it is can change everything.

On Tuesday , I got a little canvas thing for Elder Martins to paint on for me. It turned out nice. Elder Azarias found one of the olympic coins, which is a mascot, which is a rare one. He doesn't even collect them, so that made me super happy. I was like, "I want it, what do you want for it?" And he said, "Will you teach me how to do the rubik's cube?" And I was like, "Heck yes I will!" Best deal ever. So that was awesome, I got a sweet olympics coin for trading information. :) He's getting pretty good at it, he hasn't quite memorized everything but at least he does it by himself now. So that's cool. Also I'm learning a new piano song, in case you guys are wondering, it's the Luigi's Mansion medley. It's pretty cool, I like it. I bet Matt would like it as well.

On Wednesday, we didn't have a lunch, but we all pitched in and we made some pretty good macaroni. We visited Viviane and it was the 2nd time she's asked us for a priesthood blessing. Also on Wednesdays, I started doing the English class at the school for adults. Which I'm not super excited about because I realized that I don't like teaching English. :) I'm fine with teaching it to other missionaries, but to people who either don't have that much will to learn English or they're not super interested, I don't like teaching it. But on the way to the English class on Wednesday, this super drunk guy stopped us. He was in nice clothes but he was super drunk. He kept telling us his name was Michael Andrade and also that he lives in California. So if you guys know a Michael Andrade per chance, I talked to him the other day. :) I'm pretty sure he doesn't live in California, I might be wrong, who knows. :) He kept telling me to write his name down, and then I wrote it down, and he got mad at me for some reason. Then at the end of his little drunk rant, he sort of reached out and touched my hair, so that was creepy. I don't know what it is about my hair that makes people think that it's okay to touch it, but I'll have to look into that, because not okay. :) So English class, they have an English teacher, so I thought I would just be there in the class to help them with pronunciation and stuff, but no. The teacher was like, "Alright, you have an hour. Go ahead. You can use the white board if you want." I was like, I'm not prepared for this, I thought that I would just be helping, but nope I teach the whole thing. So we just talked about food and stuff, just vocab, it was boring, I was bored. But whatever. I'll have to see if I can do something exciting for the next ones. Also, Elder Rodriguez laid on top of his glasses and broke them irreparably, I'll talk more about that for Thursday.

On Wednesday night, we were coming home and I saw a bat just chillin' on the side of the road. It didn't look like he was hurt, he was sort of crawling around, don't know why he wasn't flying. It was kind of interesting to see a little bat. Then incidentally, another day after that, we were passing on the same road, and I saw a little bat pancake. So I'm guessing it was him, and at least he was put out of his misery. :)

So on Thursday, I'm pretty sure we went to all the glasses stores in Registro, but then we finally went to the Registro eye hospital or Hospital de Olhos de Registro, and Elder Rodriguez bought contacts, because he had been wanting contacts but when he was home his dad wouldn't let him get them. So I guess he took advantage of not being near his dad to buy them, which I did not counsel him to do. But whatever, I'm not going to hold his hand. There was a lady in there that helped him learn how to put them in and take them out. It was a very out of body experience, it was like watching myself learn how to do contacts for the first time, except it was all in Portuguese, it was pretty crazy. It's been funny these few days watching him struggle like crazy to try to put them in and take them out. His time is coming down, when he first started out it was like 15-20 minutes, now it's like 10, he'll probably go down to 5 minutes not far from now, so he's getting better. It's very funny watching him learn how to use contacts. So what else... We couldn't visit anybody because they were too tired to let us in.

On Friday, we had a division with the ZLs, the líders de zona. That was fine, we went to lunch with them. I went with Elder Brandão and Elder Rodriguez stayed in our area with Elder Batista. So that was a nice change for me, I just had a nice relaxing division where I was just working with their area book, and I didn't really have to worry about where we were going, so that was cool. Poor Elder Rodriguez had to go around with the zone leader in our area and find his way around. I think it went well though. I got the easy end of the deal. At lunch, it was funny, there was a cat that jumped and clawed Elder Azarias' leg and made him shout a little bit, then it kept coming close to Elder Brandão and apparently he's deathly terrified of cats, so he kept standing up from the table whenever it would come by him. So that was funny. The division was fine, we didn't do much. We visited Bibi's sister, actually, and we taught a recent convert and his nephew, I think, but they're the same age.

Then Friday night, we are starting a soccer activity with the rapazes [young men]. Only four went, but it was still cool. One of them, Emerson, he's a huge clown, he messes around and everybody was making goals on him. Irmão Rosete went as well (because his only son is a rapaz) and even he made a goal on Emerson. And it was a backwards goal, with his heel, so that was pretty impressive. One thing that is happening lately is that the city elections are coming up, mayor and other stuff. Much in the same way that they have cars going around selling eggs here, they now have cars going around with speakers on top playing the two candidates' propaganda. There's only two candidates that pay to have people do that, so they're the only ones we know, and they're really catchy songs so that's annoying. And everybody keeps asking me if they do that in the United States. At least where we lived I can never imagine that happening. They'd probably get the cops called on them for disturbing the peace. :)

So I slept in the other house here in Registro, which was fine, then on Saturday on the way back, we stopped by the apartment before we went to lunch. And just a funny thing that happened, we got into the elevator with a Jehovah's Witness lady with her cart of books and other publications, so that was awkward. As if elevators weren't awkward enough. :) And then there was this other guy that got in with the three super religious people, so that was funny as well. :) Also on Saturday, I'm starting to buy more fruit and stuff instead of cookies and stuff, because I need to. :) Also, I am an idiot and on Wednesday I said to the teacher that we were going to start doing English on Saturday at the chapel. So I was dreading that, but then we got there and nobody went, so that was fine. Then it was just piano practice, so that was cool. At night, Elder Martins bought tapioca and ham and cheese and oregano and soda for us. It was super good. I only managed to eat two because they're super filling. I'm excited to make that at home with you guys in California.

Also, Elder Martins wants me to write some music for the mobile video game that he's doing art for. I would tell you what it's about, but who knows, somebody might steal the idea. Basically the idea is that you're running down a mountain away from an avalanche, so it's pretty cool. Maybe that will be my job. Maybe I will write music for video games, which sounds amazing to me. That would be perfect really. Or writing music for anything. So Dad, feel free to hire me on as a musician/composer, because I'm totally up for that.

Then on Sunday, the priesthood class was really good, talking about the less active members and being a friend to them. I raised my hand to say something. Irmão Rosete who was giving the class looked at me, but then he had to finish whatever he was saying, then he forgot. So when we went to lunch (lunch was with him, which was so good) he realized that he had forgotten about what I was going to say. He was so sorry and asked me to share it with them as the message for lunch. It was a quote that I found from President Eyring that talks about true friends: "All of us need true friends to love us, to listen to us, to show us the way, and to testify of truth to us so that we may retain the companionship of the Holy Ghost. You must be such a true friend."  I just really like that quote. Lunch was lombo [loin]. It was really good, and there was lots of food as usual at his house and lots of ice cream and dessert.

Then at 6:00, there was a family night at his house. There was a double-dose of Irmão Rosete, so it was awesome. There was lots of chocolate cake and juice (because we drank all the soda at lunch). :) And we played a cool game with the names of Book of Mormon prophets.

Earlier today, we had plans to play volleyball at the church, just us four, but then we forgot that the room with all the equipment was locked. So we were at the church in our sports clothes because we thought we were going to be able to, but we couldn't, so we decided to go into the backyard of the church. There's a bunch of amora [blackberry] trees out back so that was our lunch today, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get sick. It stained all of our hands. It was totally worth it though. They were small and they didn't have too much flavor, but occasionally you got a really good one and it was all worth it. So I listened to your recording while I was standing under a blackberry tree, eating blackberries, listening to birds, and enjoying the shade. It was very peaceful.

So that was my week. I love you guys. Tch-Tchau!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Registro - Week 6

This week was transfer week, so officially two transfers left, goodness gracious, what's going on?

So now that I've brought it up, what happened with transfers was this: me and Elder Rodriguez, we stay here in Registro, and Elder Martins do Nacimento, he stayed here as well, and he's going to be senior companion with a new-ish elder from the Bahia. Then Elder Moletta is going to Vila Sonia, he's going to be a district leader there with Elder Foltz. The zone leaders also stayed. So that was the transfer that happened.

So last p-day we did the sight-seeing, and there was a sick family night at Rosete's house, there were hot dogs and cake and coca cola and juice. I didn't eat anything this day until the family night, so I was starving. I had five hot dogs and four pieces of cake, not small pieces either, and a bunch of soda and juice and stuff. So on the way back, I was pretty close to throwing up. :) Also at night, the other three elders had an insect repellent war with the bottles the mission gave us. The only thing they've been using it for is spraying each other in the face with it, and it smells awful. I haven't used mine. So they had this crazy fight with it. I was a little bit of collateral damage in that... what are you gonna do? :) I just hid under my covers and tried not to breathe. It was like mustard gas, no, I'm just kidding, that's a terrible exaggeration.

On Tuesday, we ate lunch at a restaurant because the rich lawyer that gives lunch to us every Tuesday, he couldn't do it at his house, so he paid for a restaurant for us, so that was slick. It was by-the-kilo. Super tasty. A little bit expensive but we weren't the ones paying for it so that was fine. :) Also, there was a preying mantis thing on my back, don't know how it got on my back, I don't know if it fell out of a tree or something, I don't know if they fly or anything. I think Elder Rodriguez freaked out more than I did. He was like "Oh my goodness there's a bug on your back! Stop moving, there's a bug, let me get it off!" He flicked it off my back, it landed on my bag, so I flicked it off and that was it. I don't know what he made such a big fuss about, so that was funny.

Wednesday, conference day! We got up at 3:30 am, well for me, I kinda woke up from 3:00 to 3:30 because it was like a gradual thing. It was one of those where you can't just wake up all at once, so it was a gradual getting used to the idea of having to wake up. So we got ready and packed for overnight, then we left. I forgot pj's but that ended up working out fine. So we got on the bus at 5:00 and got there at 9:30, something like that, so 4 1/2 hours of bus ride pretty much. We tried to sleep, I was somewhat successful. Then we sat around until lunch started at 12:00. Elder McCain talked to me a lot, I feel like he doesn't ever get to talk to anybody so in the few occasions when he sees me he just explodes with all his stories. :) The conference was really good with President Costa, he's really funny, he was cracking jokes the whole time, which was not what I was expecting. So it was President Costa and his wife:

And President Bassett and his wife. I think he's the 2nd counselor in the area presidency, they have only been in Brazil for three weeks. It was their first designation to come to Santos so that was pretty cool, a brand new Seventy. He actually reminded me of you Dad, although his hair is a bit redder. He speaks spanish and not portuguese so great. I didn't even know that could happen, I'm pretty sure he went on a spanish-speaking mission and now he's a Seventy in charge of Brazil. They are both learning portuguese, so their talks that they gave were portuguese, spanish, and english all mixed together. Because I've been with hispanics these last few weeks/months, I understood everything and it was really cool. Apparently other people did not understand so much. :) President Costa talked a lot about mission presidents, like President Obata's calling, how they're called. They get video conferenced by one of the twelve [apostles], which in their case was Elder Christofferson, and then they get video conferenced by the First Presidency, which in their case was President Uchtdorf. That is crazy! Sister Obata was designated as a full-time missionary as well, which I didn't know. He talked about how President Obata can do whatever he wants in the mission, within reason, obviously. :) One cool thing that Sister Costa said was that we were taught in the spirit world to be able to overcome anything and be able to do difficult things, and we still have those teachings within us, so we just have to find them. I liked that.

One thing that I liked that President Costa said was that when you cut open an apple, you can count how many seeds are in the apple, right? But you'll never be able to count how many apples are in every seed. That little seed will grow into a tree and there'll be a gajillion apples and those apples will have more seeds and more apples. So he was talking about our impact as missionaries, that we'll basically never really be able to tell what we did, until the celestial kingdom. :) Another thing that I liked that he said was that lots of people, they have a spiritual thirst, but then they go drink from sewage, but we can't do that, that would kill us, we have to drink from pure water sources, which is Christ. That was the Wednesday conference. I played the piano for that, obviously. It was pretty cool/good, pretty gool. I got thanked by all of them on the stand when they were leaving, score! :) Then we talked to some missionary friends. Apparently everyone thinks that was the last mission conference before I'm leaving (which I don't think that's true, but that's what was on people's minds) so I guess I'm getting a bunch of presents, which I'm cool with.

Then Elder Rodriguez took us to McDonald's, we ran into Layssa there, the recent convert from Samambaia, 'cause she lives in Santos right now, so that was cool.

There was a huge windstorm in Santos, there were a bunch of power outages, and lots of sand and dirt getting kicked in our faces, which was fun. We slept in São Vicente, I didn't know how to get there at all because I never served there, so we eventually found it, it was alright. There was no hot water, which I don't know what is wrong with missionaries, they're just cool with taking cold showers, that's crazy. That's why I had to learn how to change a showerhead. :) Who lives there right now is Elder Hesselgesser, and I borrowed some pj's from him, so that is how I got through that pickle.

So then Thursday morning, we got ready, we left, we took the VLT, which is a new train system in Santos, it's a subway-looking train but above ground. I was really impressed by it, it was cheaper than a normal bus fare, and it was super quick and there was nobody on it, which was awesome. It doesn't go to many places, it's just a straight line, but it works pretty well to get to where we were trying to go.

I dropped Elder Rodriguez off at the office to get his I.D. done, then I left with another elder to go to the leadership conference at 10:00. It only went until 11:00, so it wasn't a lot but it was really good. At the end we got to shake all their hands, that was cool! Then we went back to the office to pick up my companion, and there was a bit of a disaster, because the office had bought tickets for us for 1:00 (there's a bus that goes straight from Santos to Registro) but Elder Rodriguez still had to do this western union thing to get money from his dad, which took forever but we had to do it, so we missed our bus pretty much, but it worked out. :) We ate lunch at a little place in front of the office, it was good. It was Elder Rodriguez' birthday on Thursday, so that was cool. We visited Layssa again after that, that was fun. [Samambaia was] almost a year ago, which is crazy! We got a bus at 6:15ish, but then we had to sleep in Peruíbe, because we would have gotten home really late, and also there weren't any more buses to Registro from Peruíbe when we got there. But it was awesome because who is in that house is Elder Medrano, from my group, also Elder Cavalcante, who is pretty cool, I met him up in Caraguatatuba, so we got pizza to celebrate. I talked to Elder Cavalcante, I spoke English with Elder Medrano to help him practice, so it was cool. It was very enjoyable.

On Friday, obviously I had to take advantage of being in Peruíbe because that's where the rubik's cube store is. So I went to the store myself and I got a 5x5 rubik's cube.

Elder Medrano had already bought for me this insane cube, it's crazy.

Then we went home, it was chill, for lunch we had the little take-out things, in aluminum. We visited Franciele, her parents are still not helping, I don't know what we're going to do with that. And also we visited Viviane. Then we bought pizza for Elder Rodriguez' birthday, so it was a bbq one, and then this other one called furiosa, the furious pizza, which had an absolute metric ton of stuff on it. It was chicken and bacon and ham and sausage and cheddar cheese and all this crazy stuff, so that was cool.

Also, Elder Martins do Nacimento drew me the sickest picture of me as a DJ, because I asked him to. Oh my goodness, it is the best, I was really impressed. I'm really happy he's staying here this transfer as well because I'll probably have him draw more stuff for me.

On Saturday we had lunch with Irmão Rosete, which was turkey, it was pretty good, and lots of soda, they always buy soda for us, which I don't feel bad about at all because it's really good. And also I figure in a juice they just dump a bunch of sugar as well, so it's probably pretty much the same thing, that's my reasoning for it. :) Also on Saturday, it rained for real for the first time here in Registro. It was a cold rain, cold day, so that was cool. Then we took Franciele and her brother Mateus to the Noite de Integração, the Integration Night, that there was at the church. The branch president just had all of us missionaries bear our testimonies, and they made a bunch of soup, we took some home. Also I had a repeat experience with Families Can Be Together Forever, nobody knows how to sing that song. Agh! Why is music so hard? :) Which I think that's something that I take for granted honestly, thinking back on it... music appreciation and knowing how to read music, which has helped me a lot. But it's not something that everybody gets, so I try to be... charitable. :)

Then today, not very many people came to church, because of the rain, it kept raining. It was a normal church day, nothing special. We had lunch with Christina, which was good. We visited Franciele. Then there was another family night at 6:00 with Bibi and Ronei, which was really cool, it was like a going away thing for the transfer. We didn't know what was going to happen with the transfer, so it was just in case. We did a game that was like hymn charades, which was pretty cool. Everybody takes turns acting out the name of a hymn and everybody had to guess it. It was a good idea, pretty funny. There was lots of food and soda. :) There was a really good (Dad, I don't know if you remember) bolo de fubá com goiabada, oh my goodness, it's like a cornbread but more cakey, then goiabada [guava] on top.

So that is it for me this week. I love you guys!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Registro - Week 5

Hey parents and family!

Pokémon Go is pretty big here. We find people playing it on the street quite frequently, especially when we're looking out from our window, there's always a bunch of kids like "Achei aqui!" [I found it here!]

So last p-day there was a family night with the usual crowd at Ronei and Bibi's house. We took a less active member that we found, Franciele. There was lots of joking going on at the family night, Elder Rodriguez always gets mad when we make fun of him, I mean, everybody makes fun of everybody so it's not like he's the only one. He seems convinced that he's the only one, but he's genuinely not.  We make fun of him because of his barriginha [little belly].  :) It's a very rambunctious house, but it's cool because everybody is friends. There was cake and soda, so it was great.

On Tuesday, Elder Rodriguez caught a frog in his camera case, not sure why - I guess 'cause he'd never seen one in the wild - how is that possible? There was a district meeting, except it was just us and the other two Elders that live here, which was sem graça [boring], like why are we even doing this? (Because the zone leaders went to Santos.) Anyways, I recorded some piano songs, so that was good. We had lunch with the lawyer I told you about last week, it was stroganoff. It was beef, not chicken like usual, so it was similar to American stroganoff, so it was good (although I also like the Brazilian version, so you know, stroganoff by me is always good). We bought a box of chocolates for Franciele's birthday, and we took it to her house, but she wasn't there.  Also, we found a lady called Viviane, we started teaching her. Her husband Reinaldo was a member when I was in Itanhaém. That really confused me because apparently he lives here, he doesn't live there. His wife is not a member, so now we are teaching her. They also have a son who is a less active member, 16 years old. It was a really good lesson that we had with them. Viviane started crying after the first prayer that I said. She wants to get baptized in a river. She picked a terrible city to get baptized in a river, because the only river here is filthy.  Maybe we could find one in another city.

Wednesday, I had a reimbursement that came through, so we went to the local supermarket to buy lunch. This hardcore-looking biker dude shows up in the aisle we were in. He had his helmet on, he had a leather vest with patches, the whole shebang. The best part was that he had two huge horns on the sides of his helmet, think the size of a bull. Bull horns made out of metal - he had that on his helmet, crazy!  He was a really old dude too.  So you know, naturally, I was like "Man, this guy is sick. He must have this enormous, beautiful Harley-Davidson or something like that outside the store." So there was all that anticipation, so then we finished and went outside. He came out about the same time as us, and he goes and gets on his... bicycle! What? He lost almost all of my respect. Not quite all, because he's still crazy or brave enough to wear that helmet, but it was very disillusioning.

Also, Christina took us to an adult evening school where apparently we're supposed to be teaching English every Wednesday, but we just found out about that now. So that's fine, but this Wednesday won't work because we have a conference in Santos with Presidente Costa and maybe somebody else from the area presidency is coming. So we went to see the school, and we visited Franciele again, except when we got there, her and her mom were having this huge fight. It was ugly and a little bit awkward. Oh for lunch, the irmã [sister] paid for a restaurant for us, which was dope. Oh my goodness, we ate so much: fish, for the first time in awhile, and feijoada, heck yeah! The zone leaders got back in time for lunch, conveniently, and they brought back some repellent that the mission has bought for us, which is odd timing since it is still winter/spring so there's no mosquitoes.  I guess for my short summer stint I might use it.

On Thursday, I practiced piano a little bit. (DiDi recommended this song for me to learn on piano called Lost Boys by Ruth B, you guys have probably heard it. So I'm learning that, I love it, it's a really nice song to play on piano.) We had an appointment with Viviane but that didn't work out. Then there was dinner, which was cool because it was Thursday.  I bought tapioca, which I've already explained to you guys, and caramel, and so Elder Martins do Nacimento made that Friday morning, and he also taught me how to make it, so as long as I can find the farinha de tapioca, I can make that when I get back.

So Friday morning we did another giant Book of Mormon activity, from 8 to 11ish. The one here in Registro is ginormous, it's all made out of wood, so it's stupid heavy. It's hollow, not solid wood. I'm guessing it was heavy, because I didn't actually carry it, I was carrying other stuff, so I got out of that. :) The Book of Mormon activity wasn't super effective, we just got into Bible bashes with this guy from the Assembly of God. One interesting thing that he said which I thought I could write down for posterity is that, "You have to be careful, because the more you study, the less you know." Yeah... he actually said that. :)

We had lunch with Ronei and Bibi, which was cool.  We taught Franciele's family again. In Franciele's case, the parents are messing up their kids so much it's sad. Also, I bought a pink paisley tie for 20 reais, I found a really good store for ties, so it's tempting, I have to control myself. We taught Viviane about the Book of Mormon, which was cool. They were going to go to church, but they didn't because she got sick. I made strawberry tea, which is good.

On Saturday, yesterday, there was some soccer going on at the stadium in front of our house, it was pretty bad... bad plays and lots of fighting.  Then it was just us four at lunch with Zelha, who is the mom of a recent convert, which was cool because there was guaraná there. Oh and apparently, the box of chocolates we got for Franciele was the only present she got for her birthday which made me kind of sad, but happy that we gave it to her.  That was Saturday.

Tomorrow we are planning on doing some epic sight-seeing around the city, all the Japanese landmarks, there's a Buddhist temple that we're going to take pictures in front of. That's it for me. I hope you guys have a great week. Keep me updated on what's going down over there, what's "lit." :) I love you guys!

[Michael trying to beat his rubiks cube record...]

Monday, August 8, 2016

Registro - Week 4

Hi family and other people that listen to this! So I guess I will go straight to the news. So today's the 7th of August, Sunday.  Let me go to last p-day... what happened? I didn't have lunch because I was saving it for the family night, which was a good one, with Irmão Rosete, the awesome one that I told you guys about. Also, I interviewed Sara again, because the baptismal form only lasts one week, and so I did it last week, but then it expired, so I did it again, she passed again. At the family night, they had caldo verde, I'm going to get a recipe for that because it's so good, I think they must have the stuff in the states to make it, I'm not sure. I'll find a way.

Elder Hoskisson [and his companion] got transferred, so now we are in the same area as the zone leaders, so last Monday was their first day here.

On Tuesday, no district meeting because there was a zone meeting on Friday.  We had lunch with a rich less-active lawyer. His yard was sick, he has a huge pool and big barbecue area, with a wood-burning oven.  He said that he would start giving us lunch every Tuesday because he asked us about our lunch situation, and this week it was not great, so that's nice of him. On the way back, Elder Martins do Nascimento pushed me, while we were walking, and for some reason I wasn't balanced at all, and I just kind of fell into Elder Bautista, who is one of the zone leaders. That kinda made me mad but I got over it quickly, don't worry. That's just a random tidbit I thought I'd share with you guys.

On Wednesday, we had lunch with the district president.  He lives in Curitiba, which is another state. (Here in Registro, the city is on the border with another state to the south, Curitiba, which is pretty much the same as it was in Caraguá, because that was on the border with Rio. So I think at this point, I'm closer to Curitiba than I am to Santos or São Paulo, needless to say. It was a 45-min bus ride, within our area, because all of this is our area, these few cities, but President Obata has prohibited us from working in the other cities, we're just supposed to work here in Registro.) It was cool, he got us at the bus station, and drove us (six elders) to his house, in his normal Brazilian-sized car, which is not an SUV, so that was a little bit cramped but it was alright. The scenery actually reminded me a little bit of Florida, if Florida had mountains or hills. It reminded me of when we would go dirt-biking in the forest, and there were palm trees but also normal forest-type stuff going on.  I can't really explain it that well, obviously. But it was cool because he lives in a ... not a farm... like a rural area. The lunch was awesome, he had suco de limão rosa, which translates to pink lemonade, but natural pink lemonade I guess. I'm addicted to it, it's so good. It sprinkled on Wednesday, so I made tea. I figured out that I was only drinking tea when it was cold. In hot weather, it's miserable, but on rainy days it still works. Luckily I'll get home in the winter time.

On Thursday, our dinner was with Christina, and it was kinda like meatloaf, something like that. And she made guava juice, and suco de melão, and melão I think is honeydew, so honeydew juice, which I had never tried before and it was really good. The whole dinner, the zone leader, Elder Bautista, was asking all these probing questions about the problems the branch has been having, and she was not happy about it. She told us later that she got really annoyed by his questions. I won't talk about it much, but she was talking about how it was so much better when Elder Richards was the branch president here. [Elder Richards was Michael's trainer.]

On Friday, the biggest thing that happened was when Elder Moletta was taking a shower, the wires and stuff caught on fire and he had to run, in his birthday suit, to the breaker box and turn it off so it would stop catching fire. Luckily I didn't see that part, I just saw the aftermath of the burned out shower head.  So you guys know how shower heads are in Brazil, right? So Friday I spent switching both of the shower heads in this house because the other one had burned out awhile back. So we bought two new shower heads and I switched them out, so I think when I get home I will be a qualified electrician. :) Not that switching these shower heads has anything to do with switching United States shower heads, it doesn't, it's a completely unapplicable job skill in your country (in my country) but that's alright.

Also we had the zone meeting I told you about. I led a debate, which went well. Our lunch fell through, so we made stuff here, pasta. Also, it was Elder Moletta's one year anniversary, so we bought pizza obviously, because that's what you do. So this bbq pizza is amazing, it's got bacon and cheese and bbq sauce on it, it's the best thing ever and it's also good because it's 20 reais, which is the normal cheap price for pizza, so the price is also amazing, and it's amazing. The other pizza that we got was portuguesa, which has cheese, ham, eggs, heart of palm, peas, onion. That might sound gross to you guys, but it's really good. And also soda, obviously, because you have to buy soda. I'm not sure if this soda was around when you were here, Dad, it's called Itubaina, I think it's pretty old, or at least they make it out to be vintage or original, it's guaraná except tutti-frutti, so it's cool, I like it. That was Friday.

On Saturday, our lunch also fell through, so... pasta! And on Saturday, Sara finally got baptized! It went well. I played piano, I got some piano practice in. There wasn't anybody from the branch presidency there, well actually there's not even a branch presidency, there's just the branch president, but he lives in that other city, Pariquera-Açu, say that 20 times fast. So he didn't come, so the person with the most authority was the young men's president, Ronei (we've had lunch and dinner with him more than a few times, I've talked about him I'm pretty sure). He's super cool.

Today, it was a normal church day, there also wasn't lunch today on the the calendar but Ronei and Bibi, his wife, gave us lunch which was awesome. They're the best. Today was the first day that they switched the sacrament meeting to be the first hour instead of the last hour because that's a thing that has been switched during my mission. After church we gave blessings to this recent convert couple.

As far as the teaching side goes, this area has not been the best. The biggest difficulty we're having is with people not letting us into their houses.  Apparently the sisters here had an easier time of it, which makes sense, because it's harder to want to let two guys into your house, especially at night or whatever. And even when we talk to somebody on the street and they're like, "Yeah, you can come to my house Saturday at 4:00" and so we go to their house on Saturday at 4:00, and nobody answers the door. So we talk to the neighbor and the neighbor says they went to São Paulo." That's pretty much been the story of Registro... a bunch of people doing that over and over and over again. But such is life. :)

That was pretty much all that happened this week, so that's it for me. I love you guys, I hope you have a great week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Registro - Week 3

[Below is the transcript. To listen to the full recording, click here]:

Hey Family!  Alright, this week’s recording… so, let’s get right to it. No beatin’ around the bush here.

Last Monday after we went to the LAN house… um, not much happened. We had a family night with a family, the husband is Ronei and Bibi, and they’re about to go to the temple here in August. They’re really cool. It was a good family night. There was coca-cola, so it was really good. :)

Then on Tuesday there was a district meeting like normal. I gave a training… normal. Then we had lunch with the same family from family night. And then we had to do this thing to get this satellite ready for a transmission on Saturday. Not super important.

Wednesday there was this huge forest fire that we could see from our apartment window. Crazy. It was kinda far away, on the other side of the highway. We could see it pretty clear. It was cool, it was scary. We got home last night and it was like what is that? It was a big fire and there were a bunch of trucks going over there. In the morning it was gone.

We also found this BBQ pizza. Which was sick, so good. We actually had it twice this week, because we are susceptible to BBQ pizza it seems.

Thursday, planning. We organized the area book. There was going to have an area conference [editor's note:  that's exactly how Michael phrased it :)] with Elder Costa, but it got set back sort of indefinitely.  What else… we did some more fixing of the satellite thing. We had dinner with Ronei and Bibi. That was pretty much it.

Friday, we had lunch with Sara. She’s the young woman that’s going to get baptized on Saturday now. She did this thing, “How about if I make pasta for you guys for lunch, then at night we’ll order pizza and soda.” She made pasta, but then she never ordered pizza because I guess her aunt didn’t pay her so it was kinda sad. But that thing happened where you think about pizza and then you can only think about pizza and you just can’t stop thinking about pizza, so we bought another BBQ pizza. :)

This area is really hard to get into houses, it’s kinda frustrating, but it’s alright, we’re getting along. We have lists of people to contact, like addresses and stuff, then we get there and since the lists are old, the people don’t live there or they don’t want it. So yeah, that is pretty much how it is, not just this area, in every area, haha. But it’s alright.

On Saturday, the lunch was amazing, it was with this super most awesome best family ever in this area. They’re super cool. You eat two plates of food because they pressure you into eating more, kind of as a joke. So you stuff yourself full of food and then it’s dessert and you’re like oh no. You barely fit the first dessert and then there’s ice cream. That’s a good problem to have. :)

There was a super saturday activity, it was a bunch of youth from the area that came and it was an activity starting at 3:00 then it went until a dance at 8:00.

I’m teaching one of the other elders here to do the rubik’s cube.

Then today we went to church, more sight-reading practice for me, it was a little bit iffy but I got through it. So basically this branch has lots of problems – lots of members have become less active because of the leadership here. Lots of drama.

Another interesting thing, we live right across from the civil police, so there’s some prisoners that live across the road from us. And occasionally at night, usually at 10:30, they’ll start screaming their heads off for some unknown reason. They start going crazy, not like a riot or anything, we might have heard gun shots, not sure, or some other banging noise to get them to be quiet. Not sure. It’s pretty crazy.

That’s pretty much it that happened this week. Hope you have a good week back at home. When does school start for Jake?

We are starting the fourth week of my third to last transfer. That’s a bizarre thing that’s happening. I’m the oldest in this area, mission-wise. So the members are like, “How much time have you been on the mission?” And my companion’s like, “Three weeks.” And everybody laughs at him because that’s what you do. Then I say, “I’m going home in November.” It’s really bizarre, because I never thought this point would get here. I mean, logically I knew it would, but two years is a long time, so when you start out, until you have a year at least, you think man, this is never going to end. This is my new life. It’s probably like that until a year and 3 months, it just seems like that’s your new life. Now it’s like wait a sec, this is not going to be my life forever. I don’t know, it’s unsettling. It’s just strange.

I hope you’re great. I want pictures of all your fancy adventures in fancy places eating fancy stuff and seeing fancy stuff.  Hope you have a great week, I love you guys!